Who Would Be On Your Single-Season Sox All-Time 9?
Whitesox.com is asking fans to vote for their dream Sox lineup based on the best single-season hitting performances in the team’s history–the All-Time 9.
It’s a multiple choice exercise with candidates listed at each position. My selections will be made based on my personal impressions of how the player did and in the context of when he did it. And since I’m not participating in the official poll, I’m going to take liberties. Specifically, one of my choices is not on the ballot and I’m moving two players to different positions. Go to whitesox.com for the complete list of candidates and their stats.
Here we go:
1B — Dick Allen (1972): Although not on the ballot for some reason, to me this pick is a no-brainer. In addition to leading the league in home runs (37), RBI (113), walks (99), on-base-base percentage (.420) and slugging percentage (.603), he almost single-handedly revived the franchise from oblivion.
2B — Nellie Fox (1959): It’s very difficult to ignore Little Nell. He batted .306, led the Sox to the AL pennant and won the league MVP award. One possible candidate for the second base position could have been Hall of Famer Eddie Collins (1923). For unknown reasons he is listed at first base, a position he didn’t play. That said, I’ll still go with Fox.
3B — Pete Ward (1964): This group includes Bill Melton (1971), Robin Ventura (1996) and Joe Crede (2006), but I’m going with Pete who was my favorite player during the 1960s. Aside from my personal feelings, I can make the case that in ’64, with 23 homers, 94 RBI and a .282 batting average, he distinguished himself as the main power source in an otherwise power-deficient lineup
SS — Luke Appling (1936): This would seem like a tough call with Luis Aparicio’s 1959 in the mix, but this is about hitting. While Aparicio was spectacular in the field and stole 56 bases for the AL champs, Appling batted .388 with 128 RBI and for years and years was the Sox only star. He belongs in my lineup.
C — Carlton Fisk (1983): Sherm Lollar was the big power man in 1959 and Ray Schalk was the backstop on the 1917 World Champion Sox. But I’ll go with Fisk, who was at the core of the team that was the first Sox postseason club since ’59. He hit .289 with 26 long ones and 84 RBI.
DH — Frank Thomas: Frank was listed for his 1993 MVP season at first base. I’m taking the liberty of ignoring that and moving him to DH to make room for both he and Dick Allen. And let’s face it, Thomas is the greatest offensive player in the team’s history and any number of years would qualify him at either position.
OF — Harold Baines: Harold is listed as a DH for the 1996 season. I’ve got him in the outfield where, like Thomas, he’s a White Sox icon and qualifies in my book for any number of years.
OF — Minnie Minoso (1954): Although he didn’t play for the ’59 pennant winners, Minnie was a symbol of the Go-Go Sox in the 1950s. Maybe the stats aren’t as gaudy as others, but Minoso’s got to be on my team.
OF — Scott Podsednik (2005): With apologies to folks like Albert Belle, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Magglio Ordonez and Al Simmons, I just can’t ignore what he meant to the World Champs from the leadoff spot in ’05. Unlike so many Sox before him, he wears a ring symbolizing baseball supremacy.
No one asked, but here’s my lineup 1-9: Minoso (LF), Fox (2B), Allen (1B), Thomas (DH), Appling (SS), Baines (RF), Fisk (C), Ward (3B), Podsednik (CF).